• Katharen Martin

CampNaNoWriMo Intermission-ish

Here we are, ladies and gents! The second blog post of Camp NaNoWriMo's April edition! Though my word counts have varied wildly—I’m looking at you 10 words one day to 7,500 the next—I hit my word count goal of 30,000 on the 15th! Enter much celebration here, and please, don’t hold your applause. I’m looking to mentally capitalize on the small successes and incorporate them into a much larger project of raising my self-esteem.

I know, it’s a lot to take on, but I’m seeing some value in such a monstrous adventure.

So, here we are. Currently sitting pretty at 37,000 words and just poking away at the word count to keep daily writing flowing. I had decided earlier in the month that if I reached the 30k goal, I’d simply bump it up to 40k, then to 50k. Since reaching my goal, I’ve changed my mind. I’ll take the win and write what I can, and if I happen to reach 50,000 words by the end of the month, I’ll have yet another reason for celebration. If I don’t? Then I still hit my main monthly goal and that’s no skin off my teeth or my pride.

Smart, right? I thought so.

Last blog I mentioned that I might tell you a bit about the story I’m working on for Camp, and though it’s going to get the rough treatment in edits, I’m ready to share some things about it!

If any of you know me, you know I’m absolutely awful at writing a summary, so you’ll be my first set of guinea pigs while I work out the kinks. Bear with me, audience, the ride is sure to be rough.

The Ghosts In Our Steps is an urban fantasy novel following the life of Octavia Lach and the death of the man who is haunting her, Raleigh Spencer.

In life, Octavia suffers from depression and anxiety, a volatile relationship with her father, and a new affliction—the ability to see ghosts. Registering this ability with the Ministry of the Deceased, Octavia quickly learns that government support for someone like her isn’t something she can lean on, and if she’s going to take control of her life she’ll have to find the strength to fight with both hands tied behind her back.

In death, Raleigh is having trouble coping with stumbling out of his body and into the county morgue, the fact that he seems to be losing time, and that he has no memory of how he died. Around him is the distorted faces of people, fuzzy images like interference on a television set, until he sees the clear image of a woman staring directly at him during his funeral. She’s real, she’s whole, and he decides she’s the one who’s going to help him.

Together, they must face the consequences of mortality, morality, and mental illness. They must work against the grain of a world where the only living that matter are those who can monetize the ghosts in their steps.

And there you have it! The newest addition to the many projects I’m working on. This idea was born from an open call for short story submissions I crossed paths with a few years ago. It posited the idea that, when a hero finds their “heroic self” it always seems to “cure” whatever was wrong with them before. And though the idea that, in a fantasy world, a person with mental illness could be “cured” by being the chosen one, what if we shined the light of reality in and showcased a different kind of hero? The kind who, despite their own issues, can still be what they need to be while still fighting through their own battles?

It was a story idea I’ve been considering for quite a while and, finally, I decided to shape it into being. It’s not been easy, but I hope that one day, it’ll be one for the shelves.

I hope that all of you are staying safe out there.

Be kind to each other!

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